Pre-med students know all about stress and the pressure to perform. You always have a deadline to meet, research to finish, or an article to submit, and you know your grade in every class could impact your chances of becoming a doctor. Now, throw in a global pandemic that upends your school year.
In these unpredictable times, you may find yourself having to reschedule or cancel your MCAT—the test you’ve studied for months. While this predicament is undoubtedly stressful, you aren’t alone. You have all your fellow pre-med classmates, plus this guide to get you through.
The first thing that you need to consider is the fee structure. How much will rescheduling or cancellation cost you?
The AAMC has three scheduling categories or zones: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. You can cancel or reschedule your test in the Gold zone before the deadline for a partial refund.
The Silver zone allows you to cancel or reschedule before the Silver zone deadline without any refund. If you are in the Bronze zone, however, you can only cancel and not reschedule. You also forgo the registration fees.
The deadline for the Gold zone is one month or more before the MCAT. The Silver zone period is roughly three to four weeks before the MCAT, and the Bronze is only one to two weeks.
There are charts available online that provide fee structures, dates, and deadlines. However, due to the COVID-19 situation, rescheduling fees for all exam dates have been suspended until further notice, effective 4/1/2020.
The MCAT exam takes place in locations across the U.S. and Canada. It also has locations globally, including specific locations in Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, and even certain Middle Eastern countries.
Once you have locked in on your scheduling category, you need to move on and check for availability. You must make the changes before the deadline for the initial registration.
The only way to find out if there’s availability is to check the official website and see if there are any new posts or notices. The MCAT website provides a list of dates when the regular registration closes for each test date. Review that list to confirm that you still have time for the modifications. You should also confirm that seats are available at the location on the date that you prefer.
Remember that when you have to reschedule the MCAT, you need to save all your changes at one go. For example, if you make a change to your location and later make a change to your date, you will be charged twice. Also, all deadlines are at 11:59 p.m. local test center time on the day.
You can sign up for notifications if your appointment search returns no results. This feature allows you to be updated if and when a slot opens up at your preferred location.
How Cancelling Works
Despite all these calculated changes, you may yet find yourself unable to take the test. You may need to leave for military duty, or an unforeseen emergency has occurred in your family. You may also feel that your priorities have changed and you are no longer interested and hence need to cancel.
Cancellations classified as emergencies and non-emergencies:
Being called away for military duty and being hospitalized, a severe crisis in the family falls under the emergency classification. You will need to contact the MCAT Resource Center either by phone at (202) 828-0690 or by email at email@example.com for canceling during an emergency.
If you are canceling due to personal or non-emergency reasons, here are some essential things to consider:
- You must cancel before the end of the Gold period to be eligible for a partial refund.
- If you cancel after the Gold period, you forgo all your registration fees.
- Later during the year, if you decide to appear for the exam again, you will be charged the registration fee and a non-refundable rescheduling fee.
Making Plans Accordingly
Life often doesn’t always work according to the best-laid plans. You may find yourself unable to keep up with the study plan, or lose your focus, or get called up for military service. It is always an excellent option to reschedule or cancel your appointment well in advance and take the time to prepare yourself better.
The most important thing to consider when modifying your MCAT schedule is your preparedness. Avoid using up your chances in trial runs to check your preparation.
When rescheduling or canceling your MCAT, remember that canceling will not add to your attempt count. A no-show, however, will. So, reevaluate your priorities and plan accordingly.